โ€œFor Those Who Enjoy an Interesting Piece of Knitting:โ€ Handknitting and Handknits in British Domestic Magazines, 1910โ€“1939 by Dr Eleanor Reed, article in Association of Dress Historians' Journal of Dress History Volume 5, Issue 2, Early Summer 2021

Handknitting and Handknits in British Domestic Magazines, 1910โ€“1939

The Early Summer 2021 issue of The Journal of Dress History includes Dr Eleanor Reed’s article on twentieth century knitting, โ€œFor Those Who Enjoy an Interesting Piece of Knitting:โ€ Handknitting and Handknits in British Domestic Magazines, 1910โ€“1939. The abstract reads: “Although early to mid twentieth century histories of handknitting are well documented, comparatively little research has been undertaken into the role in these histories of domestic magazines, which, appealing to and working to generate mass readerships of skilled and enthusiastic knitters, supported โ€” and sought to profit from โ€” a precipitous rise in the handicraft’s popularity. This article uses quantitative and qualitative analysis of The Knitting and Crochet Guildโ€™s collection of 1910โˆ’1939 British domestic magazine knitting patterns to explore these publications’ treatment of handknitting and knitwear during a period in which knitting’s popularity soared, and the women’s magazine market boomed. Surveying a sample of 2538 patterns from 367 magazines representing 46 titles, this article spotlights, besides a rise in the popularity of knitwear and handknitting, a fall in the assumed expertise of knitters targeted by domestic magazines, and a growing intimacy in the commercial partnerships between these publications, yarn manufacturers, and pattern designers.”

The focus of Dr Reed’s research is on early to mid twentieth century domestic magazines and she gave an insightful presentation on 1958 knitting patterns in Womanโ€™s Weekly magazine at the Knitting History Forum Conference in 2018 (in those heady days when we could all gather in person). The Journal of Dress History is peer-reviewed and published by the Association of Dress Historians. The Early Summer 2021 edition, Volume 5, Issue 2, is free to download at the ADH websiteย  https://dresshistorians.org/journal/